BREATH: the Antidote for Fear and the Technique for Focus

Whether you are approaching a public speaking engagement, an important athletic moment, or an artistic performance of any kind, your BREATH–the flow of oxygen to your brain and body–will determine your ability to concentrate, function and excel.  Believe it or not, the first thing inexperienced performers of any kind forget to do is BREATHE.  That is why people get dry mouth, lose focus, and shake: the lack of sufficient oxygen for the adrenaline-charged moment.

When you find yourself on stage or on camera, and your focus is waning, or your belief in the imaginary circumstances has been broken–BREATHE.  PUT YOUR FOCUS ON YOUR BREATH and feel your body in the moment.  Your attention on the physical reality of what is happening to your body will center you, and as well, it will always intrigue those watching, because your behavior will become real, alive and specific.

The process of putting your attention and focus on your breath will ground you–it will force you to “feed” your body the “gas” it so desperately wants:  oxygen.  As soon as your body “fills up”,  your focus will clear, your nerves will relax, the shakes will go away, and you will become present in the moment once again.

Your “Relaxation Exercise/Routine”,  your “Warm-Up”, should always center around breathing.  Take deep but easy breaths.  Don’t over work it.  Breathe in through your nose, because the oxygen will be absorbed faster through those mucus membranes into your brain.  Then exhale–out through your mouth for ease and rhythm.  Do it again.  And again.  And again.  Your antidote in “the moment” during performance, for tension, fear or distraction, should always begin with breathing.  Deep, easy, through the nose.  You will quickly feel better.  Your focus will sharpen.

When a scene demands physical or emotional power from you, whether it is expressive rage, sorrow, hysteria, or energetic activity–BREATHE.  It will obviously support physical exertion, but it supports emotional exertion too.  Breathing will encourage your “instrument” to relax, be flexible, and be available.  Breathing will coax the hint of sadness to deep, sorrowful tears; it will tickle the hint of laughter into full-blown hysterics; it will set a hint of anger free to become a terrifying rage.

You must simply TRUST this truth of human physiology.  You must try it until you understand its power.  Anyone who has been successful as a public speaker, actor, dancer, or athlete, knows the power of a well-timed, deep, settling breath.  Breathing keeps us alive and functioning.  We only forget to do it when we are afraid.  Doing it–breathing–will dissipate the fear that impedes your process in the first place.  Quite simply, when due to fear or exertion, you find yourself breathless–BREATHE.

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Adam Lazarre-White Adam Lazarre-White grew up in NYC, graduated from Harvard University with Honors, started at QB for the “Crimson” and played in the Harvard Jazz Band. He is known for roles on Scandal, Heroes, Ocean’s 13, Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, The Temptations, Living Single, The Parkers, and starring on The Young & The Restless. Adam’s writing and directing have become equal pursuit in recent years; and he has owned his acting school in Hollywood, ALW Acting Studios since 2000. For info on Adam's classes, acting, writing & directing visit his website at www.adamlazarre-white.com

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